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Highland Council access rangers team will work on through winter

By Neil MacPhail

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A TEAM of seven Highland Council Access Rangers will continue to patrol and carry out countryside, core path and visitor preparation works throughout winter.

During summer the council’s seasonal rangers patrolled much of the area and helped reduce the impact of thousands of visitors on local environments and communities, a duty that at times was not pleasant.

The rangers engaged with nearly 20,000 people, informed them about the area and available services and advised them on responsible behaviour.

They encountered 8600 tents and 24,500 motorhomes – and removed the remains of 3500 campfires, 4200 toileting sites and more than 2000 bags of litter.

There has been extensive positive feedback from councillors, communities, organisations, and visitors for the access rangers’ work, with calls for the service to be continued in 2022. The council said its members recognised the benefits the service has provided and has committed to extend the visitor management plan funding into 2022 by a one-off investment of £1.5 million.

Funding allocated to the outdoor access team for the remainder of this financial year will allow five rangers to continue employment until April 2022.

They will help the access officers to carry out countryside site and core path improvements throughout the Highlands.

A further two rangers will also continue employment until April through other funding. One will be in partnership with Visit Inverness Loch Ness and SSE, who will continue to work in the Loch Ness area, while the other will help identify opportunities for biodiversity enhancements and community food growing on council managed land.

A video of rangers working at Duntelchaig and Achilty can be viewed at https://youtu.be/LvDcHV3zxfQ

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